Agatha Christie on the Art of Opening a Mystery Novel

From a post on crimereads.com headlined “Agatha Christie and the Art of Opening a Mystery Novel:

Murder on the Links:

“I believe that a well-known anecdote exists to the effect that a young writer, determined to make the commencement of his story forcible and original enough to catch and rivet the attention of the most blasé of editors, penned the following sentence:

“ ‘Hell!’ said the Duchess.”

Strangely enough, this tale of mine opens in much the same fashion.

Peril at End House:

“No seaside town in the south of England is, I think, as attractive as St Loo. It is well named the Queen of Watering Places and reminds one forcibly of the Riviera. The Cornish coast is to my mind every bit as fascinating as that of the south of France. I remarked as much to my friend, Hercule Poirot. ‘So it said on our menu in the restaurant car yesterday, mon ami. Your remark is not original.’”

The Body in the Library:

“Mrs Bantry was dreaming. Her sweet peas had just taken a First at the flower show. The vicar, dressed in cassock and surplice, was giving out the prizes in church. His wife wandered past, dressed in a bathing suit, but, as is the blessed habit of dreams, this fact did not arouse the disapproval of the parish in the way it would assuredly have done in real life…”

They Came to Baghdad:

“Captain Crosbie came out of the bank with the pleased air of one who has cashed a cheque and has discovered that there is just a little more in his account than he thought there was.”

Murder on the Orient Express:

“It was five o’clock on a winter’s morning in Syria. Alongside the platform at Aleppo stood the train grandly designated in railway guides as the Taurus Express. It consisted of a kitchen and dining-car, a sleeping-car and two local coaches.”

The A.B.C. Murders:

“It was in June of 1935 that I came home from my ranch in South America for a stay of about six months. It had been a difficult time for us out there. Like every one else, we had suffered from world depression. I had various affairs to see to in England that I felt could only be successful if a personal touch was introduced. My wife remained to manage the ranch. I need hardly say that one of my first actions on reaching England was to look up my old friend, Hercule Poirot.”

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